Scientific Groups Seek Change, Cooperation in Response to Immigration Executive Order

Science organizations, including American Institute of Physics, want U.S. to attract best, brightest minds
American Institute of Physics (AIP)

Newswise — WASHINGTON, May 22, 2020 -- Thirty-six scientific associations and societies are calling on President Donald Trump to reconsider an executive order that suspends the entry of immigrants into the United States. The order was issued April 22 and seeks to limit the number of foreign workers available in the U.S. job market.

While the order does carve out exceptions for doctors, nurses, researchers and other health care professionals who are working to limit and eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, it makes no exceptions for researchers and students in science, technology, engineering and math who are not involved in coronavirus research.


The letter, sent to the president and Kelvin Kay Droegemeier, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the acting director of the National Science Foundation, points out the critical role of immigrant researchers and students from around the world for the U.S. in retaining our advantage as “the premier destination for the world’s best and brightest minds.”

This desire for more international talent comes at a time when physics graduate students, as an example, think other nations are more welcoming to students from other countries.

The 36 scientific groups involved span all areas of study and interest, including the physical sciences, mathematics, medical and biological, and environmental.

The letter states knowledge- and technology-intensive industries account for 17% of the America’s gross domestic product and generate $2.7 trillion in output, outpacing any other sector.

The share of foreign-born workers in these industries has increased significantly in the last 25 years. In the fields of computer science, mathematics and engineering -- fields that underpin many of these knowledge- and technology-intensive industries -- nearly 60% of doctorate holders in the U.S. workforce are foreign-born.

The science organizations indicated their willingness to work with the White House to accelerate STEM progress while keeping in mind the need to energize the U.S. economy.


About American Institute of Physics

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is a 501(c)(3) membership corporation of scientific societies. AIP pursues its mission—to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity—with a unifying voice of strength from diversity. In its role as a federation, AIP advances the success of its Member Societies by providing the means to pool, coordinate, and leverage their diverse expertise and contributions in pursuit of a shared goal of advancing the physical sciences in the research enterprise, in the economy, in education, and in society. In its role as an institute, AIP operates as a center of excellence using policy analysis, social science, and historical research to promote future progress in the physical sciences. 


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